Saturday, August 28, 2010

Canning Day: Pickled Watermelon Radishes and Lemon Cucumber Pickles

All summer long I try to make time to put some pickles aside, and usually I find myself right about now without anything in jars. But today, while My Omnivore is otherwise occupied, I'm off on my own wandering the Ferry Building farmer's market, looking for produce possibilities.

As usual, I am shopping for food, but I'm hungry. Always a bad combination.

Ooooh, peppers....

Ooooh, rocket ship...

Ooooh, Tome d'Aquitaine.

From the Loire Valley region. Washed in Sauternes. And finished with a rinse in Muscat.
(Ranger Nan, you are an evil woman....)

Ooooh, chicken bun from Out the Door....

Okay, focus. Must focus.

Pickling, yes!

Last year, Dave over at MyFarmBoxLife called me over to his house to make some pickles and sauerkraut. He's a CSA host and had a few boxes of veggies that hadn't gotten picked up that week and among the bonus items were some watermelon radishes, which I had never seen up close before. We had no idea what to do with them, but a quick Google search turned up The Garden of Eating's yummy Asian-inspired recipe.

So, I nibbled on those from August, well into October. And then I couldn't stop thinking about them for the rest of the year. They're gorgeous in color and the sweet-sour-salty tang is addictive. That's what I want!

First stop, Watermelon Radishes.

I made some adjustments to the recipe, since I never seemed to have enough liquid to cover the radishes.

Pickled Watermelon Radishes
Makes 2 cups

2 cups sliced watermelon radish
1 small onion, cut into thin slices
1 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons salt

Cut the radishes -you can do thin slices or julienned sticks, I like to cut them into quarters and then slice thinly- and the onion. Pack them neatly and tightly into a jar. In another bowl, stir together the vinegar, sugar, and salt until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour the pickling mixture over the sliced radish and onion until they're fully covered.

Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight before serving.

Since I'm pickling, I also decide to do the Lemon Cucumbers, which Ms. Art Attack brought over a few days ago from a friend's garden.

I don't know anything about pickling those either, but once again, a Google search turns up an interesting looking recipe from Jillicious.

Pickled Lemon Cucumbers
(Adapted from Jillicious and So Easy to Preserve)
This is a variation of the recipe from Jillicious. Since I only had a pound of lemon cucumbers, I changed the amounts-- I just can't help but mess around with recipes...

Makes 1 quart

1 pound lemon cucumbers
2 cups thinly sliced yellow onion
1/2 cup kosher salt
Crushed or cubed ice
2 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. mustard seed
1 tsp. ground turmeric

Rinse the cucumbers and slice into thin rings, discarding the blossom end. Combine the cucumbers and onions in a large bowl and add kosher salt. Cover with 2 inches of crushed or cubed ice and then refrigerate 3 to 4 hours, adding more ice if needed.

Add sugar, mustard and turmeric to the vinegar in a large pot. Boil 10 minutes. Drain the cucumbers of the briny water and add into the pot. Slowly reheat to boiling.

Fill pint or quart jars with cucumber and onion slices, leaving 1/2-inch headspace and then pour in the hot cooking liquid (also laving headspace.)

Process the jars for 10 minutes in a Boiling Water Bath. After processing and cooling, store the pickles 4 to 5 weeks allow the fullest flavor to develop.

When I finally focused in, I realized that to go along with the free range pork that we got via the fine fine Pig Share with Food Migration, I wanted--nay, needed-- to have some pork chops and peaches like we had at the Della Fattoria dinner last year. We unfortunately don't have the access to the wood-fired flattop that Junker has, but this two-burner griddle did the trick just fine.

15 minutes of smoking with a tablespoon each of Pecan and Oak chips, and then onto the griddle with the peaches.

Can you say, "Heavenly"? Grilled peaches with a little Maldon sea salt, smoked grilled Berkshire Heirloom Pork Chops, some arugula and tomatoes from Dirty Girl produce, plus Tome d'Aquitaine.

Life is good.


Antonio said...

That watermelon looks really radical, where did you get that ?
What kind is it ?

ME said...

It's actually not a watermelon at all, but a kind of radish with the coloring of a watermelon -- gorgeous, no?